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BlackBerry Z10 rear

Today BlackBerry reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2014, and unfortunately for John Chen and Co., this most recent quarter was about as rough as the one that came before it.

BlackBerry says that it pulled in $976 million in revenue during Q4 2014, down from the $1.2 billion it earned in the previous quarter and the $2.7 billion that came in during Q4 2013. Meanwhile, the company formerly known as RIM finished the final quarter of its fiscal 2014 with a net loss of $423 million, which is better than the $4.4 billion that it lost in Q3 2014 but worse than the $98 million income that it raked in during Q4 2013.

On the hardware side of things, BlackBerry says that it sold around 3.4 million smartphones to consumers during Q4 2014. Of that total, approximately 2.3 million were BlackBerry 7 devices.

Despite the rough quarter, BlackBerry CEO John Chen says that he's happy with the progress that his company has made on its strategy to streamline its operations. Chen reports that BlackBerry has hit its expense reduction target ahead of schedule and that the device maker "is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability."

Overall it looks like BlackBerry had itself another bumpy quarter to close out its fiscal 2014. Not only did it suffer another loss, but its total smartphone sales dropped, and once again the majority of the units that it did move were powered by its older BlackBerry 7 OS rather than the newer BlackBerry 10 platform. The company is remaining positive, though, and it hopes to continue to streamline its operations and reach a break even cash flow by this time next year. Whether or not it'll be able to pull that off remains to be seen, but it'll definitely be interesting to see if its entry-level BlackBerry Z3 and keyboard-clad BlackBerry Q20 can help turn things around.

UPDATE: BlackBerry CEO John Chen revealed that his firm plans to launch high-end handsets with physical keyboards in the next 18 months in an effort to win back executive customers that dislike BlackBerry's recent touchscreen products. "The focus is going to be very keyboard centric," Chen said.

The exec went on to say that BlackBerry has three next-gen smartphone designs that are in its labs right now. BlackBerry announced last month that it will release a new Q20 smartphone that features a trackpad and keyboard as well as a set of Menu, Back, Send and End buttons like those found on older BlackBerry 7 devices.

Chen also revealed that BlackBerry is considering creating a version of BBM for desktop computers. "We are certainly going to take a very serious look at putting BBM on the desktop," he said, explaining that such an app would allow users to start a chat on their PC and then go mobile without missing any of the conversation.

UPDATE 2: Chen dropped a few more details on BlackBerry's future hardware plans during today's Q4 2014 call:

  • The BlackBerry Z3 will be released in countries outside of Indonesia, including a model with North American LTE support
  • The BlackBerry Q20 with trackpad Menu, Back, Send and End keys is expected to launch in Q1 2015
  • BlackBerry will start up new production runs of the BlackBerry 7-powered BlackBerry Bold 

Via BlackBerryReutersTechCrunch


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